Reviews: 2020


A crisis is a crisis is a crisis. As well as highlighting all that is, challenging times also highlight all that is not, all that is missing. Plugging these gaps – social and physical – is one of the roles of design. Hence, in reacting to COVID-19 and all its long-term consequences, the design sector must demonstrate just how essential design can be as a seismograph and as a driver of and for a dynamic (urban) society. Social design, in particular, offers a range of analytical and activist-transformative methods that are as broad as they are effective in shedding light on and, hence, meeting specific needs – in the form of, for example, local solutions.

Well before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, VIENNA DESIGN WEEK and Erste Bank – in the shape of their jointly organized Stadtarbeit format – had called for the submission of projects, ideas, and concepts that address vacant and derelict sites and other gaps in the urban grain and develop new approaches to the notion of temporary use in the public realm. Because, 2020 made it quite clear – if it wasn’t already – that patterns of use in urban space are not non-negotiable constants. The notion of the city is just as flexible and fluid as its reality. And this represents an opportunity at a time in which societies are being forced to reorganize and reorient themselves.

In 2020, the Erste Bank ExtraVALUE Design Award was awarded for the sixth time. The winning projects were announced during the press conference of VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2020. The prize entitled the winners The INSTITUTE FOR VALUATION and ARCHE to participate in and to realize their projects during the festival. 

VIENNA DESIGN WEEK/Kollektiv Fischka/Patrizia Gapp